Category Archives: Music
Singer, rapper, songwriter, American Idol judge, fashion nightmare… actress?
All of these terms describe one of the strangest women in music and arguably one of the weirdest sights you will see in theaters next year: Nicki Minaj.
It was just announced by The Hollywood Reporter that Minaj is in final talks with Cameron Diaz to appear in her next film—The Other Woman—which is scheduled to begin production in New York this spring or early summer.
Internet Movie Database describes the upcoming film like this: “After realizing she is not her boyfriend’s primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge.”
It certainly sounds like a Cameron Diaz movie, don’t you think?
Diaz will, of course, assume the lead role. Leslie Mann from HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones will play the wife whose husband “two times” her while the voluptuous Kate Upton is slated to play her husband’s other lover.
Choosing between Leslie Man and Kate Upton? Sounds like a problem that I would love to have, but where does Nicki fit into all of this?
I’ll tell you.
Minaj is going to portray Diaz’s smart-mouthed, opinionated and thrice-married assistant. It will be her first live-action role since her actual film debut came in the form of voice talent in 2012′s Ice Age: Continental Drift—she played Steffie, a Woolly Mammoth who makes fun of Peaches, a teenage Mammoth.
Do me a favor and keep the word mammoth in mind. You’ll see why in just a moment.
Although I have never been a fan of Nicki Minaj—and actually find her to be rather irritating—I am glad she is getting the opportunity to appear in film. My reason for feeling this way, however, is a bit odd and I certainly hope people don’t take this the wrong way.
To me, film is the ideal medium for Minaj since the Big Screen is likely the only surface large enough to contain her mammoth ass!
Now do you see why remembering the word mammoth was so important! Ha ha!
I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.
Originally from Chicago—my home town, incidentally—Ray ended up in California during the tumultuous times of the early 1960s. He studied film at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and could easily have enjoyed a long and lucrative career in the movie industry if not for one life-changing event.
In 1965, Ray was walking along Venice Beach and happened upon a long-haired, modern-day poet: the one and only Jim Morrison.
Jim had written some song lyrics, which Ray immediately asked to hear. Against his better judgement—and never really considering himself to be much of a singer—Jim sang the first few lines of what would later become “Moonlight Drive.”
Check out a pretty good performance of this tune live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 by going HERE.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Together with guitarist Robby Krieger and percussionist John Densmore, Ray and Jim formed The Doors and provided part of the soundtrack from one of the most turbulent eras in modern American history. Songs like “The End,” “People are Strange,” “Love Her Madly” and the quintessential Doors’ hit “Light My Fire”—complete with unmistakable keyboard work from Manzarek (check it out HERE)—set the tone for the 1960s and paved the way for a multitude of singers and musicians to follow.
Bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Iggy and the Stooges, Alice in Chains, The Strokes, Fatboy Slim, Bon Jovi and countless others all cite The Doors as a major influence on their own careers and successes.
Sadly, The Doors in their original incarnation only lasted until 1971, the year of their last recorded studio album, L.A. Woman. Following the recording, Jim moved to Paris with his girlfriend Pamela Courson and started to drink and use drugs more heavily. He did manage to record a little more—taking some musicians he met on the street to an impromptu recording session—but was found dead in his bathtub on July 3rd. He was 27 years old.
Ray and the surviving members of The Doors kept their legacy alive—the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993—but life without their flamboyant front man just wasn’t the same. Each of them went on to different projects and garnered some degree of success in their professional careers, but their fame would never approach what they experienced at the height of their popularity.
For Ray, life after The Doors meant playing with other groups—including Nite City, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Los Angeles band X, which he also produced—writing poetry and a memoir—1998′s Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors—and even hosting a radio program on the BBC. Ray also managed to cut an album with slide guitarist Roy Rogers—2011′s Translucent Blues—which ranked at number three on the Top 100 Roots Rock Albums of 2011.
In other words, he lived a full, productive, successful and inspirational life. And even though he just lost his battle with cancer and passed away, his influence on music, art and film will be felt indefinitely.
I never knew Ray Manzarek personally—even though I wish that I did—but I definitely feel the loss because of how much I loved (and still love) The Doors and their music. Like many others, I started listening to Jim, Ray and the guys at an early age—during my so-called “formative” years—and even though they disbanded the year I was born—and the year Jim died—there has always been a deep connection between us. And there always will be.
Of course, Ray’s death also reminds me that no matter how much we fight it, time simply catches up to us all. It just sucks when the heroes and idols of your youth start dying off, you know? For me, Ray Manzarek was on that list. I’m going to miss him, but at least he’s in a better place.
And if I know Ray, he and Jim are probably jamming in the Great Beyond as we speak. I can almost hear those sweet keystrokes now…
“Don’t try to compare us to another bad little fad/I’m the Mac and I’m bad give you something that you never had/I’ll make ya Jump Jump wiggle and shake your rump/Cause I’ll be kicking the flavor that makes you wanna Jump.”
Anyone familiar with Hip Hop groups from the 1990s should immediately recognize these lyrics. And despite claiming to be more than a “bad little fad,” the fact is that this is exactly what the group Kris Kross became. The lyrics come from “Jump,” their biggest—and basically only—hit song.
Of course, they still went down in Hip Hop history since the group’s members—Chris Kelly and Chris Smith—were only teenagers at the time. They also set a brief fashion trend by wearing their clothes backwards, which is one of the reasons I still remember them.
Unfortunately, Kris Kross fans just got some very bad news since Chris Kelly was pronounced dead on Wednesday. He was 34 years old.
Although an official cause of death has not yet been released, it appears that Kelly could be the victim of a drug overdose. A female friend told investigators that Kelly used both heroin and cocaine on Tuesday evening. She had taken him home to recover from his buzz, but it was too late. Police discovered him the next morning and he was unresponsive.
He was declared dead at the hospital a short time later.
Kelly’s music career began in earnest when he was 13 years old. He and his partner Smith were performing as Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac (respectively) at an Atlanta mall when they were discovered by music producer Jermaine Dupri. He immediately signed them to his So So Def label and their debut album Totally Krossed Out—which included the hit single “Jump”—eventually went multi-platinum.
Unfortunately, Kris Kross’ subsequent albums—from 1993′s Da Bomb to 1996′s Young, Rich and Dangerous—were never able to sustain the popularity of their debut album and the group more-or-less faded into obscurity. They continued to make music and even reunited last February to celebrate the 20th anniversary of So So Def records, but it just wasn’t the same.
And now that Kelly is dead, no future reunions (or comebacks) will be possible, either. It’s pretty sad.
The good news is that despite struggling in his music career, Kelly still managed to impact those around him in a positive way.
“We often heard him playing classical music and the piano,” Kelly’s neighbor Leslie Tookes recounted after hearing of his passing. “He was a low-key type of person who was very talented and courteous, friendly and wonderful to our 5-year-old twins.”
And in a statement released recently, Kelly’s family highlighted the things that made him so special: “To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris—the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party.”
And though Kelly’s party may be over, the impressions he left on those around him—including his fans—will undoubtedly live on. Rest in peace, my man.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to write about this earlier, but still felt very impelled to do so.
On Sunday, the music world lost one of its greatest and most prolific folk singers, Richie Havens. He died of a heart attack at his New Jersey home at age 72.
Despite influencing scores of singers and songwriters for years to come, Havens was best known for opening the infamous Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 with a song he basically improvised: “Freedom.”
Check out his memorable performance here.
Of course, any young people in the crowd likely recognize this song because Quentin Tarantino included it in the soundtrack for his 2012 film Django Unchained.
Havens was born Richard Pierce Havens in Brooklyn, New York in 1941—oddly enough only a year before my father, but that’s neither here nor there.
In his 72 years, Havens performed in doo wop groups on street corners, ran with a street gang, dropped out of high school, read poetry at Beatnik clubs, drew portraits for customers, learned to play the guitar—and developed his own method of tuning it so he could play the chords with his unusually large hands—signed a record contract, cut a number of tracks on the Verve Forecast label and ended up as the opening act at a certain three-day festival of music and love.
You know the one I mean.
The funny thing is that everything I just mentioned covers only the first half of Havens’ life, more or less. By the time it was all said and done, though, he had released 25 albums—the last one being 2008′s Nobody Left to Crown—appeared in several movies, collaborated with other artists (like Groove Armada on the song “Hands of Time”), toured endlessly and even performed for presidents, as he did for Bill Clinton at his 1993 inauguration.
In other words, he filled 72 years with as many memorable experiences and performances as possible. And what a life it was.
For me, the introduction to Richie Havens’ music and message—”Peace and love, baby”—came in high school. I was a blossoming neo-hippie exploring his roots in the “Summer of Love,” convinced I had been born too late and determined to keep the Peace Train rolling. I obviously missed Woodstock—my own birth coming a number of years later—and thankfully missed all the fun at the Altamont Music Festival for the same reason. So the first time I saw Havens perform was on a grainy old VHS video tape, the original film Woodstock. And yes, it was the song “Freedom” that first caught my attention.
If you missed the link to this performance before, take a look-see. The link is near the top of this post.
No matter how you slice it, Richie Havens was a talented musician, a skilled songwriter and one hell of a performer. And on a special day in 1969—one in which he was asked to open a packed music festival and to kill three hours while other performers struggled to make it to the site—Richie Havens made music history.
Peace and love, Richie. I hope your next journey is as exciting as the last!
I’m sure tween girls everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief knowing Bieber’s ding dong will remain intact, at least for the time being.
While in the clink, Martin enlisted the aid of two fellow inmates to help him carry out several murders, including that of Justin Bieber, a star with whom he is obsessed. Martin even has a tattoo of the singer on his leg.
The plan was for recently released inmate Mark Staake and his nephew Tanner Ruane to nab Bieber and his bodyguard at his Madison Square Garden show, strangle them with paisley neck ties (Martin’s calling card) and then castrate them both.
Fortunately for Justin, the plan was foiled when Staake was picked up in Vermont on outstanding warrants. In an even stranger turn of events, Martin then decided to spill the beans to authorities, who later recorded phone calls in which he and Ruane discussed the murder plot.
New York police arrested Ruane soon after and even discovered pruning shears and other murder tools in his possession. In other words, he seemed more than prepared to carry out the murderous plan.
For now, however, Bieber’s wiener is safe. And none of us have to worry about it “popping up” in the stocking stuffer section of eBay. No pun intended, of course.
The video featuring the flamboyant rapper has been viewed more than 800 million times and receives roughly 10 million hits per day.
Is it me, or is this one of the dumbest videos/trends ever? The “horse dance” itself brings to mind the Macarena, which thankfully disappeared over time.
Here’s hoping “Gangnam Style” fades into obscurity even faster…
According to The Guardian and a recent interview with David Frost, surviving Beatle Paul McCartney now claims that Yoko Ono had nothing to do with the group’s 1970 break-up. By then, he says, each of the Beatles had quit the band.
“She certainly didn’t break the group up,” McCartney told Frost. “The group was breaking up.”
Since I’m such a huge fan of the Beatles, their music and specifically John Lennon, it’s hard for me to accept this news. But it did come from the proverbial “horse’s mouth,” and Paul was actually present when the group disbanded. Alas, I was still a glimmer in my mother’s eye and wouldn’t be born until the following year.
One thing that McCartney said really struck a chord with me, though. He mentioned that if not for Yoko, it is unlikely that John would have written such hits as “Imagine” and “Watching the Wheels,” songs for which Ono provided inspiration. In fact, McCartney suggests people thank her for all the solo music the individual members produced once the Beatles were in their rear-view mirrors.
I guess he has a point, so let me be the first to say something I never thought I would utter: Thanks, Yoko!
It was 1994 when the California punk rock band Green Day released its major label debut album Dookie. The third hit single from the album was “Basket Case,” a song written by the band’s lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong about his struggles with anxiety and panic disorders.
It now appears the song also foreshadowed things to come.
Today, the Associated Press reported that Billie Joe Armstrong will begin treatment for substance abuse soon.
This comes mere days after his now famous meltdown at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas. When producers told Armstrong he had one more minute to wrap up his set, to accommodate Usher’s performance, the Green Day front man went ballistic.
“You’re gonna give me one minute? I’ve been around since f–ing nineteen eighty f–king eight, and you’re gonna give me one minute? You’ve gotta be f–ing kidding me,” Billie Joe ranted. ”I’m not f–ing Justin Bieber, you motherf–ers! Let me show you what one f–ing minute f–ing means!”
He then smashed his guitar on the stage. Granted, this may not seem very strange for Billie Joe, but it did punctuate his tirade in grand fashion.
I don’t know what’s going on with you, Billie Joe, but I commend you on getting help. And I’m sure Justin Bieber will breathe a little easier knowing you are “off the streets” for a little while, too. He doesn’t know how close he came to taking the guitar’s place.
In 1969, during the final Summer of Love, Tommy James and the Shondells released a song destined to become a classic. With religious undertones so slight you hardly notice them, “Crystal Blue Persuasion” takes you away to a warm and inspiring place. It’s best served in the summertime while you lounge on the beach or drift around the pool.
Wondering why you never heard of it? I wonder that very thing myself.
I stumbled across the song in college, right before our Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We saved money by holing up in the same hotel room—seven guys and girls sharing two double beds—but we spend most of our time in the sand and surf.
One especially nice afternoon, just after lunch, we found ourselves with two or three groups of other vacationers—most of them college students like us—partying, chugging beers and margaritas, and having a very pleasant time.
Then we cranked up “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and felt a wave of peace and relaxation wash over us. Alcohol-soaked and sunburned, we all danced together in the sunlight, swam and surfed the waves. It was almost a religious experience without Tommy James chiming in.
Sadly, I can’t link the song or provide a sample here, but I did find the lyrics and hope you enjoy them. I highly recommend checking out the song on iTunes, though. And no, I’m not being paid to say that.
Look over yonder what do you see
The sun is a-risin’ most definitely
A new day is comin’ people are changin’
Ain’t it beautiful crystal blue persuasion
Better get ready gonna see the light
Love, love is the answer and that’s all right
So don’t you give up now so easy to find
Just look to your soul and open your mind
Crystal blue persuasion, mm-hmm
It’s a new vibration
Crystal blue persuasion, crystal
Maybe tomorrow when He looks down
Every green field and every town
All of his children every nation
There’ll be peace and good brotherhood
Crystal blue persuasion
Ahhhhh… that’s nice…
Mick Jaggers affair with David Bowie revealed in new book: They were really sexually obsessed with each other – NY Daily News
Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Just watch the “Dancing in the Streets” video these guys produced in the 1980s and the attraction between them seems very obvious. And given that they both flourished in the days of Studio 54, the Sexual Revolution and disco, it’s almost as if this was destined to happen!